WASHINGTON, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As health care providers nationwide consider whether to adopt a model of care called the patient-centered medical home, they face a critical question regarding the implementation of this innovative approach: at already-stretched primary care practices, who will take on all the additional tasks the model requires?
For many, an effective answer is nurses serving as Physician Office-based Health coaches (POHCs). POHCs play a key role in patient engagement, cross-continuum care management, additional outreach, and other important functions in the new model of care.
POHCs also serve on the frontlines of chronic disease management, addressing the gaps in the current ambulatory care delivery system. Finally, POHCs improve office workflow, motivate patients to improve self-care, oversee disease registries, and conduct pre-visit chart reviews. Through these functions, they can dramatically improve patient outcomes.
In today's environment of innovation, it is more important than ever that primary care practices ensure the quality of care delivered by nurses serving as health coaches. A new collaboration between The Advisory Board Company and Mercy Clinics is making that possible through an enhanced certification program for this key role.
Since 2008, over 100 health coaches have received POHC certification from a pioneering institution in this terrain: Mercy Clinics, a 150-physician multispecialty clinic in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Advisory Board Company—a research, consulting, talent development, and technology services firm partnering with over 2,900 of the world's leading health care organizations—is collaborating exclusively with Mercy Clinics to further develop and market an enhanced POHC training program, as well as other medical home-related training programs.
"While Medicare and commercial payers are preparing for an era that will shift how health care is financed, many health care providers are piloting corresponding models for how they deliver care," said Richard Schwartz, Executive Vice President of The Advisory Board Company. "New payment methodologies ushered in by the Affordable Care Act include models requiring accountability for providers on the care delivered to an entire population. As a result, chronic disease management driven by health coaches in primary care medical homes will play a key role in the coming evolution of health care. The Mercy Clinics POHC certification curriculum provides an unsurpassed foundation for this role."
Since 2003, Mercy Clinics (MCI) has been actively engaged in the development of a primary care medical home model employing POHCs in each of its clinics. Using Wagner's Chronic Care Model and the Six Aims for Improvement from the Institute of Medicine as a model, MCI developed a formal POHC certification curriculum and conducted its first certification course in 2008. The American Medical Group Association recognized MCI that same year with its prestigious Acclaim Award for its POHC model.
Mercy Clinics has exceeded a 400% return on investment in its own health coaches by relieving physicians of clerical and nursing work, increasing the number of office visits, allowing the clinics to bill higher levels of service, increasing testing revenue, and supporting pay-for-performance initiatives.
"Even without pay-for-performance incentives, fee-for-service physician offices have seen health coaches pay for themselves by improving patient outcomes and fostering a proactive culture of data improvement," said David Swieskowski, M.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Clinics. "What's more, we have noted that health coaches are well accepted by patients."
Mercy Clinics will present an abridged version of the POHC training on Friday, April 15, at the 2011 American Medical Group Association Annual Conference at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, Md. (2-3:15 pm, room Chesapeake G/H) The presentation will be delivered by Kelly Taylor, R.N., M.S.N., C.C.M., Director of Quality; Del Konopka, R.N., M.S., Clinics' Education Coordinator; and Dan Watland, Quality Analyst, Mercy Clinics.
About Mercy Clinics
Mercy Clinics is a subsidiary of Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines (MMC). Mercy Clinics was established in 1983 and has grown to one of the largest clinic systems in Iowa. More than 1,100 employees, including 147 physicians, are on staff at 50 clinics in Des Moines, its suburbs and several central Iowa communities. MCI and MMC are part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health services organizations; and home health agencies.
About The Advisory Board Company
The Advisory Board Company is a research, consulting, talent development, and technology services firm focused on the health care and higher education industries. We partner with executives and their teams through a unique membership model and serve a network of over 2,900 health care and higher education organizations. When faced with their toughest challenges, executives turn to us for strategic guidance and performance improvement solutions. For more information, visit http://www.advisoryboardcompany.com.